View Smaller Image
Poster: Stuck In The '70's
(see this users gallery)
Happily Divorced aired from June 2011 until ? on TV Land.
"Happily Divorced" centers around Los Angeles florist Fran ( Drescher) as she deals with dating after finding out her realtor husband of 18 years (John Michael Higgins) is gay. Fran juggles her new relationships, while still living under the same roof with her ex-husband. The cast is rounded out by Fran's best friend Judi (Tichina Arnold), her parents Dori and Glen (Rita Moreno and Robert Walden) and her flower delivery employee Cesar (Valente Rodriguez). Written by Fran Drescher and Peter Marc Jacobson ("The Nanny"," "What I Like About You.")
A Review from Variety
Posted: Wed., Jun. 15, 2011, 5:18am PT
(Series -- TV Land, Wed. June 15, 10:30 p.m.)
By Brian Lowry
Taped in Los Angeles by Uh-Oh Prods. Executive producers, Fran Drescher, Peter Marc Jacobson, Franco E. Bario, Larry W. Jones, Keith Cox; director, Lee Shallat Chemel; writers, Drescher, Jacobson.
Fran - Fran Drescher
Peter - John Michael Higgins
Judi - Tichina Arnold
Dori - Rita Moreno
Glen - Robert Walden
Cesar - Valente Rodriguez
TV Land's out-of-the-gate success with "Hot in Cleveland" is beginning to look more and more like a fluke. The network has followed that sprightly original comedy with the dismal "Retired at 35" and now even-worse "Happily Divorced," whose ability to attract viewers will hinge largely on their failure to differentiate this Fran Drescher vehicle from "The Nanny" reruns. The premise's autobiographical underpinnings notwithstanding, "Divorced" is so painfully broad and filled with gay stereotypes all but Drescher's most faithful fans will yearn to be separated from their TVs.
Drescher and ex-husband Peter Marc Jacobson (who co-created "The Nanny") drew inspiration from their real-life relationship in creating the show. It's promotable, surely, in a People magazine way; watchable is something else again.
Drescher's character is informed in the opening scene by her husband Peter (John Michael Higgins, a veteran of the Christopher Guest films who deserves considerably better) that he's finally realized he's gay.
"You've never even been with a man," she protests. "Trust me, it's not that great!" And so it goes.
Flash to six months later, and the pair are divorced but -- out of financial necessity that surely wasn't part of Drescher's actual story -- forced to continue sharing a house together. (Divorce is always hardest on those without syndication money.)
So Peter is constantly around, even when Fran brings home a hunky date (D.W. Moffett). Then there are her wacky parents (Rita Moreno, Robert Walden), who (along with everyone else) always suspected Peter was gay and are just so excited at the prospect someone -- Fran, Peter, heck, anybody -- might be getting laid.
Everything about the show feels as if it were plucked out of a time capsule stamped 1978, around the time "La Cage Aux Folles" was released, right down to the slogan, "He came out … but he didn't move out!"
Drescher has always been something of a made-for-sitcoms cartoon character -- Betty Boop's look wedded with Olive Oyl's voice -- so playing broadly comes naturally. Yet even with that disclaimer, the fact-based elements to fall back on and the "Born this way" subtext, it's hard to picture "Happily Divorced" collecting any GLAAD awards.
As with "Retired," TV Land will roll out the new sitcom behind fresh episodes of "Hot in Cleveland," which has already become a workhorse in that regard, treated by the network like "Seinfeld" and "Frasier" rolled into one.
Still, if this is as ambitious as the rerun-heavy Viacom channel plans to be with its original comedies, here's one vote for repeating the golden oldies until the sprockets come off.
Camera, George Mooradian; production designer, Bernie Vyzga; editor, Skip Collector; music, Gavin Lurssen, Ran Pink; casting, Marc Hirschfeld, Blyth Nailling. 30 MIN.
With: D.W. Moffett.
A Review from The New York Times
Life With a Gay Ex-Husband. It Happens.
By ALESSANDRA STANLEY
Published: June 14, 2011
Not so long ago there was nothing funny about a wife discovering that her husband is gay.
The 2002 movie “Far From Heaven” steeped the subject in Douglas Sirk-like melodrama. And in 1982, “Making Love,” a deadly serious movie about a husband who is secretly attracted to a man, was considered shocking.
It’s actually not that big a deal, at least in the eyes of Fran Drescher. “Happily Divorced,” her sitcom that begins on Wednesday on TV Land, is about a woman named Fran who is not fazed by her husband’s revelation and continues to live with him even after they split.
“I blow the leaves — he blows my hair,” Fran says in her trademark nasal bray. “It’s like we are still married.”
Ms. Drescher knows what she is talking about. As with so much of her previous work, including the hit CBS series “The Nanny,” there is a strong autobiographical streak to “Happily Divorced.” She was married for many years to Peter Marc Jacobson, who produced and, with Ms. Drescher, created “The Nanny,” and who told her after their divorce that he was gay. The two evidently remain close, since he is an executive producer of this latest series; the gay husband, played by John Michael Higgins, is named Peter. “Happily Divorced” is less a sitcom than a showcase for Ms. Drescher’s delightful, if somewhat time-worn, brand of schtick.
It’s natural that she would find a home on TV Land. The cable network that got its start showing reruns of classic sitcoms is rapidly becoming the television equivalent of the Yankees Fantasy Camp or Bloomberg News — a place that puts onetime greats back to work.
“Hot in Cleveland” on TV Land stars Jane Leeves (“Frasier”), Wendie Malick (“Just Shoot Me”), Valerie Bertinelli (“One Day at a Time”) and Betty White (practically everything) and begins its second season on Wednesday before “Happily Divorced.” It’s a sitcom about three middle-aged women who move to Cleveland in search of normal (i.e., not too exacting) men, and it is quite funny. Mostly that’s because the actresses are so appealing, but also because the writing is imaginative and a little dark — the comedy is etched in the single woman’s battle with loneliness.
Ms. Drescher’s comedy, on the other hand, is so light that it’s like a vaudeville routine. In the first scene Peter wakes up Fran in bed and blurts out that he is gay.
“But we just had sex during Leno,” Fran retorts. “How gay can you be?”
She whines a bit, then moves on with her life, which includes meeting a dashingly handsome and doting man on her first foray as a newly single woman. Her biggest problem, it turns out, is that her gay ex-husband is jealous of her new beau (D. W. Moffett), and vice versa.
Ms. Drescher wears a small, knowing smile that serves as a wink to the audience as she glides through scenes without affect or traction — almost as if standing on a wheeled platform like the Rose Parade queen. She isn’t acting, she is being Fran, which is to say, sitcom Fran.
Ms. Drescher has written two memoirs and in both is candid about her troubled life. In 1985 she was raped at gunpoint by an intruder while her husband was tied up and forced to watch; in 2000 she learned she had uterine cancer, a struggle that she won and that inspired her to found a nonprofit organization, the Cancer Schmancer Movement.
For perhaps understandable reasons, her on-screen life is as cheery, smooth and easy as her real experience was not. That also means that there isn’t much bite to it.
The same was true of an earlier sitcom, “Living With Fran,” on WB, in which she played a single mother dating a much younger man — one who is not just handsome but also thoughtful and witty. Her children are shocked at first, but they quickly come around: it’s as if Ms. Drescher could not tolerate conflict, even for comic effect.
And that is a drawback for “Happily Divorced.” Ms. Drescher stars in a comedy about marital discord that airbrushes out all traces of pain, sadness or anger. Divorce can be funny, but unmitigated happiness is often a bore.
TV Land, Wednesday nights at 10:30, Eastern and Pacific times; 9:30, Central time.
Produced by Hudson Street Productions. Created by Fran Drescher and Peter Marc Jacobson; Ms. Drescher, Mr. Jacobson and Franco E. Bario, executive producers; Larry W. Jones and Keith Cox, executive producers for TV Land.
WITH: Fran Drescher (Fran), John Michael Higgins (Peter), Tichina Arnold (Judi), Rita Moreno (Dori), Robert Walden (Glen), Valente Rodriguez (Cesar) and D. W. Moffett (Elliot).
A Review from The New York Daily News
'Happily Divorced' review: Fran Drescher's new TV Land series uses one-liners, gay-friendly jokes
BY DAVID HINCKLEY
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
TV Land's mission of bringing back old-time, feel-good, just-plain-funny sitcoms isn't proving quite as easy as the network made it look with "Hot in Cleveland."
"Happily Divorced," TV Land's third shot at a new old-style sitcom - the George Segal parents-and-son romp "Retired at 35" is the other one - tries harder than "Cleveland" and generates fewer laughs.
"Happily Divorced" is not without its pleasures, however, starting with Fran Drescher, who co-created the show and plays the lead character, a florist named Fran.
Okay, Drescher, who most famously starred in "The Nanny," may be an acquired taste. But if you like her combination of attitude and accent, she provides a full dose of both here.
The premise of the show is that after 18 years of marriage, Fran's husband, Peter (John Michael Higgins), announces he's gay. The first show opens with that scene and then flashes forward six months, at which time they're divorced, but Peter is still living in the house because he can't afford a place of his own.
He is, ironically, a real estate agent, which explains his current income-generating problem.
Fran and Peter still get along just fine. She still reminds him where his many medicines are and he still invites her to the annual "Sound of Music" sing-along, to which he wears shorts and an Alpine hat.
If that suggests the show contains a lot of gay jokes, it does. They're gay-friendly jokes, however, the kind that gay folks and straight folks generally will find just as funny.
When Fran starts to date again, for instance, Peter admits he's a little upset, because "I never pictured you sleeping with another man."
"Ditto," she replies.
Or, back when Fran thinks Peter will be moving out, he says, "Where am I supposed to go?"
"You're gay," she says. "Go to the YMCA."
You see the dilemma here: While this joke isn't particularly offensive, it also isn't all that clever. A lot of setup for modest reward.
"Happily Divorced" has a cinema-vrit back story, as it happens. Drescher created it with Peter Marc Jacobson, who also co-created "The Nanny" and is Drescher's real-life ex-husband.
After they divorced, he acknowledged to her he was gay. Sometimes when life hands you a lemon, you make sitcoms.
It also lets them share some of their good-natured banter with the world. Like when Fran's date says, "I love her voice," Peter replies, "Give it time."
To flesh out its fuller sitcom potential, "Happily Divorced" also gives Fran an extremely annoying set of parents, played by Rita Moreno and Robert Walden. She has a best friend, Judi (Tichina Arnold) and a flower deliveryman named Cesar (Valente Rodriguez).
It may be that all this will develop an interesting story. On opening night, though, it feels like the show's primary goal is to set up one-liners - which is not how the great shows we see on TV Land reruns got to be great.
A Review from The LA Times
Television review: 'Happily Divorced'
Fran Drescher's new sitcom is based on her life: Her husband comes out as gay.
June 15, 2011|By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
TV Land, where all time is eternally present, increases its roster of original sitcoms by 50% Wednesday with the addition of "Happily Divorced." Fran Drescher, who was "The Nanny," stars as a Los Angeles florist whose real estate agent husband (John Michael Higgins, from Christopher Guest films and a million other things) tells her after 18 years of marriage that he thinks he might be gay.
"We just had sex during 'Leno,'" she protests. "How gay can you be?"
It is good to live in an age when this may be seen as the stuff of affectionate comedy rather than of painful tragedy, and in fact the series is based on the lives of its creators, Drescher and her gay ex-husband, Peter Marc Jacobson; they also co-created "The Nanny." Once known, this fact lends to the project an authenticity that might not otherwise be apparent, so steeped is it in the rhythms and conventions of the 20th century sitcom.
That is in part the point, of course: These TV Land comedies, pioneered by the Bertinelli-Malick-Leeves-White "Hot in Cleveland," are meant to resemble the sort of shows their stars used to play in, though they are, in the modern mode, more tightly packed with sex (and, especially, no-sex) jokes, and everyone is older. Still, even within what one might expect to be the safe haven of TV Land, age remains an issue. When guest-star date D.W. Moffett says, "Can I ask you something?," Fran answers quickly, "30 to 40." Drescher is 53.
To ensure maximum farcical interplay, it has been deemed convenient to keep Higgins, who is called Peter, living with Drescher, who is again called Fran, as she was in "The Nanny" and the 2005 series "Living With Fran." She asks him to move out: "You're gay," she says, "go to the YMCA," making the letter shapes as did the Village People back around the time Drescher danced with John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever." But he gets no farther than the den.
Peter's gayness is, in the pilot at least, entirely composed of gags about shaving chest hair, wanting to move to West Hollywood, "The Sound of Music" sing-along, and how Fran and he both like men. Her parents — who are played by Rita Moreno, 79, but ageless, and Robert Walden 67, whom I did not at first recognize as the man who was Joe Rossi on "Lou Grant" — always thought Peter was gay: "He had beautiful cuticles," Moreno says. It will be interesting to see whether he is allowed an actual romantic life.
I find it easy to root for Drescher, whose sweetness seems genuine. She was Bobbi Flekman in "Spinal Tap," after all, and I certainly got some pleasure out of "The Nanny" way back when, before I forgot to watch it anymore. I would like to see her stretch farther than this; she can seem too defined by her body and her voice, the raspy Flushing, Queens, accent that by design or incapability she has never lost ("Whatsa matta, Peetah?" are the first words spoken here, as if to tell us where we are). But that failing has also been her fortune.
For The Official fran Drescher Website go to http://www.frandrescher.com/
To listen to the theme song of Happily Divorced go to http://www.televisiontunes.com/Happily_Divorced.html
· Date: Thu December 15, 2011 · Views: 2143 · Filesize: 51.1kb, 634.7kb · Dimensions: 2400 x 3000 ·
Keywords: Happily Divorced Cast